The Maryland Tech Council has zeroed in on two of the state’s major metropolitan areas in an effort to fill the estimated 20,000 open tech positions in Maryland.
The MTC has created two local chapters dedicated to workforce development since the beginning of 2022, in Prince George’s County in March and in Baltimore in February.
Ed Mullin, the chair of the new Baltimore Regional Tech Council, said he hopes to get youngsters more involved in technology but there are challenges to that goal, largely the disconnect between openings and candidates.
“We get kids excited about STEM careers, and then when they go to look for a job, they aren’t connected with somebody in Maryland or Baltimore, so they go work in Pittsburgh or Boston,” Mullin said. “That’s messed up.”
The BRTC plans to focus on tech workforce in Baltimore, which is something that Marty Rosendale, CEO of the Maryland Tech Council, said his organization did not have the bandwidth to do. By honing in on Baltimore, officials hope to fill some tech positions by hosting in-person networking events that connect potential employees with employers.
Mullin said that the difference between job-finding platforms such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor and BRTC is the personal connection from in-person networking.
“It’s about community and convening,” Mullin said. “I run a nonprofit for kids who do competitive robotics, and I will tell people how great they are, but when an employer actually comes to one of the events and meets them and makes a personal connection, all of a sudden people get hired.”
Rosendale said that networking is a big mission for MTC as well.
“A big part of what we do is help with connections,” said Rosendale. “We hold about 50 events every year that range from small roundtables to signature events that have anywhere from 500 to 600 people present.”
MTC officials decided to open a chapter in Baltimore because they saw a heightened need in the area to bridge the gap between startups and tech companies. Mullin saw tech councils in other cities and thought Baltimore should have one, too.
“I saw what was going on in other cities, and I’m like ‘We really need to have something that is advocating for the tech community, that can connect startups with large tech organizations,'” Mullin said.
There are so many open tech jobs right now in part because of things like large federal employers in Maryland, such as the National Security Agency and Fort Detrick, who enormous staffing needs that are only growing. In addition, Rosendale said, there are 72 government labs in the state, so there is a large need for tech jobs.
Rosendale said the MTC also has plans to launch a regional tech council in Anne Arundel County.